Understanding the Moon Shots Program’s Proteomics platform

MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program™ was launched five years ago to increase the speed at which our scientists and physicians turn their research discoveries into new treatment options for patients. The program focuses resources around 13 cancer types, called Moon Shots™, with the goal of using the knowledge we gain to advance treatment of all types of cancer. But what makes this initiative so unique? One reason lies in its 10 research platforms. Each research platform gives the 13 disease-specific Moon Shots access to expertise that drives cancer research forward faster, and the Proteomics platform is no exception. We spoke with Samir Hanash, M.D., Ph.D., to learn more about the Proteomics platform. Here’s what he had to say. What is cancer proteomics? Cells in your body rely on molecules called proteins to carry out bodily tasks. Cancer cells also rely on proteins to do things such as grow and spread. Cancer proteomics analyzes blood, tumor and tissue samples to identify the proteins in cancer cells that differ from those in normal cells. If a protein is made in larger amounts in cancer cells than in normal cells, it suggests that the protein may play a role in causing cancer to develop or spread. How does the Proteomics platform contribute to our mission of ending cancer? When we find proteins that indicate there’s cancer or that play an important role in cancer’s progression, we want to further study the protein to see if it’s a good target for diagnostic tests or treatment options like targeted therapies or immunotherapies, which can help shrink the cancer. What do you and the rest...